Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cosmetics and Beauty News (March 2013)

Feeling plucky?
Tweezerman, maker of some of the best tweezers in the industry, has adopted Lindsey Vonn as its brand ambassador, and in celebration, is running a contest to win around £80 of Tweezerman tools. I've already entered - and you should too! Just check out the Tweezerman website for details.

You give me fever
 Hay fever is no joke, and as spring and summer come into view, plenty of people will be getting their supply of clean hankies out - there are more than 10 million UK sufferers seeking relief each year. ESPA's Resistance Oil range, which can be used in the bath, tries to combat hay fever by including tea tree and eucalyptus to boost our natural defences against pollen and other environmental aggressors. Fumakilla's Pollen Face Spray could also be a good investment - its ion polymers reputedly stop pollen from entering the eyes and nose by creating an invisible veil over the face. It can be applied over makeup, and one bottle contains around 160 applications. Sufferers may also wish to investigate The Bakewell Soap Company's Beekeepers' Delight soap, which is aimed at highly sensitive skin and those suffering from skin ailments. Containing goats' milk, oats, jojoba oil, beeswax and organic honey, it could just help to keep you feeling lovely, rather than a snotty and irritated mess - and at £4.95 a bar, it also won't break the bank.

Extra special cosmetics
As someone whose skin tone has always been ludicrously pale, I've often had trouble with high street brands when it comes to finding foundations, concealers and powders that make a reasonable match with my skin. However, those in this situation need look no further than EX1 Cosmetics, which promises to supply those with "Asian and exotic skin tones", thanks to its provision of "bespoke shades from very fair to deep olive". Department store prices may no longer prevent you from purchasing products that actually suit you - and you can buy from a variety of online retailers at present, including Lookfantastic, HQHair, and Beauty Expert.

Spray you love me

Ladies with special birthdays coming up (like myself...cough) may be hoping for a high-quality fragrance as a gift. However, some feel that the art of scent-making has been lost over the years as the industry becomes ever more commercialised. Former VP of Chanel and Manager of Jo Malone, Dom de Vetta, definitely feels this way, and has teamed up with rising perfumer Julie Massé to create Shay and Blue, which has just launched at Harvey Nichols. Made with real flowers, fruits and spices, the perfumes promise to create rich opulent experiences that are made in England with skill and passion. Perfumes will be blended seasonally according to what's growing in the UK, and all will be sold in smoky blue glass bottles. The six scents that are currently available include Atropa Belladonna (incorporating cassis, narcissus and vanilla), Sicilian Limes (containing salt limes, rosemary and moss), and Suffolk Lavender (mixing lavender, melon and pine). And with prices from £30, they cost no more than commercial perfumes either.

Other unique perfume gifts are available from Anna Sui, whose tin houses are just too adorable to pass up. Secret Wish, Flight of Fancy, and Fairy Dance now come in collectable metal boxes that you can keep even when the perfume itself is long gone, transforming into jewellery boxes thanks to the handy hooks inside. For £36, you get a tin box and a 50ml Anna Sui fragrance.

Curl creation
We girls don't always style our hair as often as we'd like, mostly due to the time constraints wrought by over-complicated styles. However, John Frieda has just launched a video in an attempt to help women create curly hair easily - and, in celebration, has also started a competition whereby you can win weekends away, girls' nights out, and luxury meals. You'd be silly not to enter :)

Had enough. Period.
Some women manage to get through the time of the month with ease, but others (as I did when I started) have immobilising pains that make them throw up and keep them off school or work once a month, which not even prescription painkillers (such as mefenamic acid) can always touch. The Bowen Technique aims to combat cramps in a drug-free and non-invasive way thanks to specialised massage with regular rests throughout the 30-60 minute treatment. Knowing how much pain periods can cause, I would try anything to get on with my life, and would encourage any other sufferers to do so as well.

Magic matrixyl
Another chronically female concern is anti-ageing, and the beauty world has gone mad with the news that magic ingredient matrixyl is the only one to really have any effect. How far this is really the case can probably only be ascertained through detailed examination of the research involved; however, should anyone wish to capitalise on this discovery, several high street brands already contain matrixyl, such as the ranges by No7's Protect and Perfect, Sarah Chapman, Erno Laszlo, Docteur Renaud, Marks and Spencer, and Olay's Regenerist. Online shopping also offers up a wealth of possibilities: try Dr Lewinn, Medik8, NeoStrata, Skin Doctors, and DuWop.

Weight and see

Weight management is an equally perennial problem for the fairer sex. The latest product to help with this is the Malory Band, acting like a belt that you wear around your waist, underneath your clothes, to help remind you of your target weight and stop you from eating so much that you'll spend the rest of the afternoon feeling like a beached whale on the sofa. The belt's fabric is washable, durable, and can even be worn in the shower. It also comes with a unique buttonhole system, meaning the belt can be tightened as you lose weight - and by continuing to wear the band, you can maintain your weight once you've reached your target. Of course, you also use it in conjunction with eating well and regular exercise, making it one of the healthiest systems out there. 

Along Came Betty
Benefit's coy vintage style has been aped by several brands over the years, including The Vintage Cosmetic Company, Too Faced, Hard Candy, and Betty Hula. Another 'Betty', in the form of Along Came Betty, tries to appeal in the same way and is now available at Tesco, but manages to stand out on the shelf thanks to its deliberately over-dramatic black and white photographs on the pack, and lower price points (prices start from £4.99). You never know when a cheaper alternative might be better than your usual product - and you haven't got much to lose by trying this cute brand.

We're off to see the wizard
With the recent release of Oz The Great and Powerful, OPI has released a line of nail polishes inspired by the film, all with Oz-like names: Lights of Emerald City, When Monkeys Fly, and Which is Witch? are just a few of them. All are priced at £11.50, but you can get a special set of 4 mini polishes for £13.95, which is a great way to test-drive a few at a lower price (specifically I Theodora You, Don't Burst My Bubble, Glints of Glinda, and What Wizardry Is This?). All together now: there's no place like home... 

Also on the nail varnish scene are gel polishes, with brands like COLLECTION leading the way. Hopefully a long-lasting high-shine finish is now available even for ladies who don't want to ruin their nails! COLLECTION's range of 15 colours is out in May and will cost just £3.20 per bottle. 

Our darling dads
While all of the above would make great gifts for mums, it's important to not forget our dads (especially with Fathers' Day on the approach in June). If your dad is into male grooming, you could try Crabtree and Evelyn's new sets, which contain shaving essentials and muscle soaks to name just a few and start from £8. The scents available are Sandalwood, Nomad, and West Indian Lime - not to mention the classic Gardeners range, providing gifts for surely every lifestyle.

Also available is ManCave Natural Grooming, which prices its vegan products (which all contain at least 12 essential oils) from a mere £3.99. With borage to moisturise, caffeine to energise, and willow bark to fight bacteria, high-quality products such as these will with luck ensure that our dads are kept in tip-top condition, and therefore there for us for a long time yet.

Be Zen
One of the most important things in life is surely to "keep calm and carry on". Naturally there are a host of products offering to help us do this, such as the recently-launched B/Attitude natural skincare products for face and body, which promise to fuse ancient traditions with sensory experiences thanks to ingredients such as ginseng, passion flower, juniper and green tea. Another brand, Caldrea, tries a similar tack with its aromatherapeutic line, which uses botanicals that include linden flower, angelica, and chia. These essential oils hopefully work on our minds as well as our bodies - as when our looks decay, it's only our minds we're left with. Wishing you a peaceful April :)

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